Poll: Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s job approval trends up as 2022 election looms

Whitmer’s approval rating improves from Fall 2021 survey

A new poll offers some insight on where Michigan voters stand in the state’s upcoming election for governor. View more: https://www.clickondetroit.com/topic/January_2022_WDIV_Detroit_News_Poll/

DETROIT – A new poll offers some insight on where Michigan voters stand in the state’s upcoming election for governor.

A WDIV/Detroit News poll asked voters about their thoughts on Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s job performance, as well as potential challengers to her re-election bid. Here are some of the findings:

Whitmer approval trending up after dip

Survey results show voters view Gov. Whitmer favorably by a margin of 47.6% favorable to 39.6% unfavorable. Whitmer is viewed favorably by Independent voters by a margin of 49.0% favorable to 32.9% unfavorable.

  • 56.2% of Michigan voters approve of the job being done by Gretchen Whitmer as governor, compared to 38.7% who disapprove.

That’s an improvement for Whitmer from the Fall, when her approval rating was 48.3% and her disapproval was near 44%.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approval poll results Jan. 11, 2022 (WDIV)

So what’s driving the improvement? Survey results show it’s Independent voters.

In September 2020, 51.2% of Independents disapproved of her performance. They now approve of her performance by a margin 62.3% approve to 27.9% disapprove. Her approval among independent voters has gone from -11% to +34.4% -- a 45-point reversal.

Notably, while Whitmer has 62.3% job approval among Independent voters, Joe Biden has only 39.4% job approval among independent voters, the WDIV/Detroit News survey found.

The 2022 race for governor

Gov. Whitmer’s re-election bid will face some challenges in this year’s race for the governor’s office.

WDIV/Detroit News poll results found 39.9% of voters said will definitely vote to re-elect her while 41.7% said they would vote for someone new -- 12.2% said it would depend on who was running against her.

The 12.2% that said it would depend who was running against her -- they break 38.4% Whitmer to 18.4% Craig, with 27.1% undecided.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approval poll results Jan. 11, 2022 (WDIV)

How potential challengers stack up

Respondents were asked if they had heard of the name of four prominent announced Republican candidates for governor.

James Craig led with 44.6% name identification breaking 17.7% favorable to 9.5% unfavorable. Kevin Rinke and Garrett Soldano came in around 20% name identification, and Tudor Dixon had 14% name ID.

Gov. Whitmer holds a 48.6%-39.1% lead over James Craig, with 11.7% of voters remaining undecided. And Whitmer holds a nearly 15-point lead among Independent voters leading Craig 41.0%-26.2%.

Whitmer’s 9.5% lead is a strong advantage that puts her just shy of the crucial 50% mark. At this point, James Craig is the strongest of the four Republican contenders tested in this survey due to higher name identification.

Whitmer wins Black voters by a margin of 82.3%-7.6%, with 10.1% undecided. But among white voters, the two are statistically tied with Whitmer leading Craig 43.7%-43.4%.

In this survey Whitmer also polls better than Soldano at 49.% to 33.2%, better than Rinke at 49.6% to 33%, and much better than Dixon at 50.3% to 31%.

The Michigan Primary Election is scheduled for May 3, 2022.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approval poll results Jan. 11, 2022 (WDIV)
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approval poll results Jan. 11, 2022 (WDIV)
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approval poll results Jan. 11, 2022 (WDIV)
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approval poll Jan. 11, 2022 (WDIV)

Favorability:

Michigan gubernatorial candidates poll on favorability Jan. 11, 2021 (WDIV)
Michigan gubernatorial candidates poll on favorability Jan. 11, 2021
Michigan gubernatorial candidates poll on favorability Jan. 11, 2021
Michigan gubernatorial candidates poll on favorability Jan. 11, 2021

METHODOLOGY

The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted a Michigan statewide survey of November 2022 likely general election voters. The 600 sample, live operator telephone survey was conducted on January 3-7, 2022 and has a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence. 25.0% of respondents were contacted via landline telephone. 75.0% of respondents were contacted via cell phone telephone. This survey was commissioned by WDIV Local 4 News and the Detroit News.


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.